Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Catching Kindess: The One Thing Parents Don't Mind Being Contagious

Parents of young children find themselves saying the word ‘no’ so often that they are as sick of hearing it as the little ones! Take a break from ‘redirecting energy’ (which is code for distracting the child to stop a temper tantrum) and change the focus.

Catch your kids doing something nice.

Some of my favorite photographs are those when one of my children is comforting another, and having these pictures is proof to all family members that siblings don’t ALWAYS argue! Having these pictures can also affect siblings positively in that they remember the loving connections as well as the bickering.

Here are a few tips to catch kindness:

Don’t let them know you want to take a picture of them. If they see the camera too early, it’ll interrupt the moment and it may be gone for good.

Shoot from behind. You don’t need to see their faces; in fact, it’s often more dramatic if you can catch just two heads touching or arms entwined.

Take the photograph and add a journal entry about what was happening at the time. Catching kindness can be a recurring theme in scrapbook projects.

When you catch kindness, you may find it continues to spread. Some days, most parents wish for nothing more than witnessing a few tender moments between siblings.

Just keep your camera handy!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Want to Take a Picture? Grab Your Phone!

Doesn’t anyone use a phone to call people anymore?

It seems that today’s models have more features than many cars. Your phone doesn’t just connect you with another through conversation; it now helps you manage your calendar, entertains you through games, helps you surf the web, send email and take photographs. In reality, our today’s multi-tasking lifestyle requires these job-juggling tools to keep us current with our career and family issues. I’ve also found several occasions where I’ve forgotten my digital camera but had my camera phone handy, and I’ve taken many photos that I otherwise would have missed—including my daughter’s first trip with her grandparents.

If you’re in the market for a new cell phone, consider one that includes a camera lens, but make sure to check out a few things before putting down your hard-earned cash.

Resolution: Nope, we’re not talking about the New Year’s flavor. If you’ve ever shopped for a digital camera (or even set foot in a consumer electronics store), you’ve likely heard the term ‘resolution’ thrown out as the ultimate method of measuring the quality of a digital camera. While more pixels does translate into a higher quality printed photograph, the returns begin to be less noticeable when you go beyond the three megapixel mark (for printing 4x6 digital photographs—enlargements and commercial printing require higher resolution images).

When it comes to camera phones, however, more resolution can make a significant difference in image quality so it pays to consider a camera phone with a megapixel or higher resolution. This is particularly important if you think you’ll want to print the pictures at some point.

Flash: More of today’s digital camera models now include a flash. While you need to be pretty close to your subject for the flash to be of use, this feature can really help in low-light conditions. The flash on your camera phone may not hold a candle to the one on your digital camera, but, in this case, every bit (often) helps.

How’s Your Memory? Most of the early model camera phones didn’t include removable media cards as part of the handset but this trend is changing, and that translates into benefits for you. If your camera phone doesn’t have a removable media slot, it means that you’ll likely need to email any favorite photos to yourself in order to use them for other purposes, and carriers will charge you for each MMS (multimedia message). Having the ability to write your digital pictures onto your removable media card means it will be much easier to share, protect and print that picture later.

Bluetooth or IR: If you want to be able to send pictures wirelessly to other devices such as your computer, another cell phone (short range), a PDA, a home printer or one of the digital printing kiosks you find in your local drug store or retail shop, you’ll need to have Bluetooth and/or IR (infrared) capability.

Take Time To Play: When shopping for a camera phone, feel free to play with it. Hold it in your hand. How does the weight feel? Push a few buttons—do the menus make sense, or does it take 36 commands to get to the camera feature? You’ll find that once you have a camera phone, you’ll start depending on it more during those times when your digital camera is still at home. One added benefit: as soon as you get that great shot, you can send it to loved ones right away!